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Category: Writing Systems
Recent Quora translations on Sarantakos’ blog
I have had updated versions of old Quora posts published in Greek on Nikos Sarantakos’ blog In English, why does the letter “υ” from Greek loanwords appear in some words as letter “Y,” but as “U” in other words?, as Γλευκόζη, αυτή η άγνωστη “Gleucose, the unknown” Why are the Latin and Greek alphabets the […]
Updated post on “What are some interesting examples of Ancient Greek vernacular?”
I have had an updated version of my old Quora post What are some interesting examples of Ancient Greek vernacular? published in Greek on Nikos Sarantakos’ blog, as Ο Κρίμωνας και το παιδί του Βαθυκλή, “Crimon and Bathycles’ son”.
Updated post on “If you were allowed to add a symbol to unicode, what symbol would it be, and what would it mean?”
I have had an updated version of my old Quora post If you were allowed to add a symbol to unicode, what symbol would it be, and what would it mean? published in Greek on Nikos Sarantakos’ blog, as Πώς χαντάκωσα τα Παμφυλιακά, “How I ruined Pamphylian”—referring to how I’m responsible for the psi-like Pamphylian […]
How different is the modern Greek alphabet from the ancient one? Other than the fact that ancient Greek had only capital letters, does the alphabet also contain letters that modern Greek speakers do not use?
In antiquity, every city had its own variant of the Greek alphabet; they varied not only on shape of letter, but also on which letters they used. Athens undertook a spelling reform in 403 BC, under the archonship of Eucleides, which adopted the Milesian variant of the Ionian alphabet, including the letters eta and omega. […]
Why are there ancient, long extinct scripts (e.g. cuneiform) in Unicode?
https://unicode-table.com/en/blocks/cuneiform/ I’m going to put in a less popular answer: Because they can. Yes, there is research ongoing on extinct scripts, and scholars should be able to exchange texts in those scripts. The thing is, scholars usually exchange Sumerian, Old Egyptian, Mayan etc texts not in the original scripts, but in transliteration. The scholars are […]
Why doesn’t Judeo-Spanish use the letter Ñ?
Clyde Thogmartin is right in his answer that traditionally Judeo-Spanish is written in Hebrew (with the quite icky trigraph <ניי> for [ɲ]). But more to the point, even when it is written in Latin script, people writing it usually make a point of not using Spanish orthography: they are putting distance between their language and […]
Is it possible to use the ancient Gothic alphabet to write in English?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gothic_alphabet One might argue that the phonological inventory of Gothic is a spectacularly bad match for that of Modern English. But then again, so was the phonological inventory of Latin. I think you can, so long as you hold your nose and write vowels as a one to one match with Modern English; you’re not […]
What is a better way of representing the /ʔ/ and /ʕ/ sounds than apostrophes or other punctuation marks?
I’m going to take a long time to say “none”. Glottal stop – Wikipedia The most common convention in Latin script is indeed to use apostrophe; and the disadvantage of the apostrophe is that it’s easy to miss, easy to conflate with a quotation mark, and it doesn’t look like a “real” letter. The same […]
Did ASCII and other character sets change the way people think about characters or letters?
Nice question! I believe that they have, though this is kind of speculative. ASCII and charsets have cemented the notion of a fixed repertoire of characters available to a language or a context. Specialist printers beforehand did have a little wiggleroom in making up characters for specialist purposes–various iterations of sarcasm marks, one-off diacritics or […]
How could Byzantine writers re-introduce the subscript iota and the breathings, which were long gone at the time?
From An introduction to Greek and Latin palaeography : Thompson, Edward Maunde, Sir, (1912), pp. 61–62, My summary: The breathings and accents were invented by Aristophanes of Byzantium, ca 200 BC—when the breathings and accents were still being pronounced. It is believed that they were promoted for the teaching of literary Greek, precisely because they […]